Cork International Choral Festival kicks off Wednesday

26 April 2016, Tuesday
By Bryan T. Smyth


Cork will come alive with the sound of music this week as 5,000 singers arrive from all over the world for the festival

Nearly 5,000 singers from all around the world are arriving in Cork this week to take part in the 62nd Cork International Choral Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday April 27 and runs until Sunday May 1.

There will be 6 ticketed gala events, and almost 100 free events throughout the city including a Choral Trail, Friendship Concerts, Fringe Concerts and a Symposium.

The Festival, which is the oldest in Cork and one of Europe’s most prestigious Choral Festivals, will include Gala Concerts, Schools Concerts, National and International Competitions, workshops and free outdoor performances.

The event also spills out to the streets of Cork including many impromptu performances in pubs, cafes, restaurants, churches and libraries – wherever you turn you will hear a harmony of voices.

This year’s Gala Concerts include the Opening Gala Concert featuring Seán Ó Riada’s Mise Éire Suite as well as the incomparable The Real Group from Sweden, Chamber Choir Ireland Gala Concert featuring a themed evening commemorating Shakespeare and 1916, along with the ethereal sounding White Raven and the International Fleishmann Gala choir competition and everyone’s cherished Closing Gala Concert.

Commenting, Sinead Dunphy, Festival Manager, said, “The event, which attracts almost 50,000 to Cork over the weekend, is the perfect chance for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a fantastic line-up of the best choirs and voices from around the world. We hope everyone joins in the fun.”

Cork International Choral Festival Highlights
Wednesday 27th April – Opening Concert, A celebration of Heritage
Events will kick off at the Opening Gala Concert on Wednesday 27th April in Cork City Hall with Fleischmann Choir and CIT CSM Symphony Conductor, Conor Palliser, celebrating our heritage. It will feature Gerald Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra with soloist Robin Tritschler and the first performance in Cork of Fleischmann’s Cornucopia for Horn and Orchestra with soloist Cormac Ó’ HAodáin. The Programme will also include Seán Ó Riada’s Mise Éire Suite together with an accompanying film of the period. Pre-concert recital will feature the Band of 1 Brigade.

Thursday 28th April – The Real Group
The next Gala Concert on Thursday 28th April will feature The Real Group reprising their incredible 2013 concert, which showcases their amazing vocal talents. Based in Sweden, The Real Group is one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles. They are renowned for their excellent ensemble singing, stunning arrangements, and for captivating audiences world-wide. Their repertoire consists of arrangements of jazz, sometimes leaning towards folk and pop. A night of entertainment and vocal quality not to be missed!

Friday 29th April – Remembering the Rising and Shakespeare…
Friday 29th April will leave you spoilt for choice in the stunning surrounds of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral from 7.30pm – featuring the Festival’s Choir in residence, Chamber Choir Ireland who will perform two premières on the evening by Festival Commissioned composer Stephen McNeff and the winner of this year’s Séan Ó Riada Composition Competition Amanda Feery.

The event will not only commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising but it will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier, will première the newly commissioned work from composer Stephen McNeff. A half darkness, McNeff, together with poet Aoife Mannix explore the Rising through a translucent and distant reflection on life in Ireland before the Rising and the landscapes that influenced the events which ensued, removed from the context of the event in Dublin itself.

The concert will use many settings from Shakespeare songs and text, from The Tempest, to Macbeth and a new setting of the prologue to Romeo and Juliet by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.

The event also features the world premiere of Offaly-born Amanda Feery’s Changed Utterly, winner of the prestigious Séan Ó Riada Competition. The piece uses a text that reflects on the 1916 Rising and will sound like something from the distant past in the context of contemporary, carefully conceived choral sounds.

Friday 29th April gets even busier with the late-night concert Evocations set to take place in the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne at 10.30pm. The evening will platform the foremost exponents of medieval song, White Raven. Based in Switzerland, this a cappella vocal trio, sings arrangements of Irish traditional, Scottish, and Medieval song. Hailed as “voices of purest gold” by the Irish Times critics, White Raven has perfected the art of ensemble singing with their unique timbre and exquisite blend of voices.

A Choral Symposium:
The Festival will also host a 3 day Choral Music Symposium, which includes two central sessions; curated by one of the world’s leading specialists on choral music, Paul Hillier and the Festival’s choir-in-residence, Chamber Choir Ireland in interactive workshop sessions on Friday 29th April at 2pm and Saturday 30th April at 10.30am in Cork School of Music; along with a number of Symposium Fringe Activities.

Saturday April 30th May – International Fleishmann Gala
Cork International Choral Festival is one of the most prestigious Choral Festival’s in the world, and in light of that prestige, the International Fleischmann Gala will take pride of place on Saturday 30th April in City Hall, where some of the world’s top amateur choirs will compete for one of the most prestigious prizes in International standards.

Sunday May 1st – Closing Gala Concert
The Closing Gala Concert in City Hall on Sunday 1st May will mark the end of a jam-packed Festival week with International choirs presenting choral music representative of their musical and cultural backgrounds in a joyful celebration of song and colour.

Festival Club – Saturday and Sunday
The Festival fun doesn’t stop when the Gala’s end – it simply moves to the Festival Club at the Clarion! It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax with festival choirs and guests, whether you’re in the mood to sing, dance, drink or mingle your way into the small hours.

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